Check out this headline from The Sun (UK): “Scientists are implanting tiny HUMAN brains into rats” (https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/4867891/scientists-give-rats-consciousness-by-implanting-them-with-tiny-human-brains/).
Hmm… what’s goin’ on here? Like, where do you get tiny human brains that can fit into rats’ skulls? This Science is being conducted at Stanford University, so maybe that’s where the tiny human brains are. Maybe the campus is lousy with ’em.
Later on the reporter lets slip that what he means by “tiny human brains” is, in fact, little clumps of cells, taken from human brain tissue, called “organoids.” These micro-items are implanted in a rat’s brain, three or four organoids, and at least sometimes, by and by, become “functionally integrated with the rat.” The Sun Illustrates this point with a picture of a hamster. I guess if you’ve seen one little furry animal, you’ve seen ’em all.
Scientists have already, the reporter adds, “hacked rats’ brains,” making them run or freeze or turn around just by throwing a switch… “using an invisible magnetic field.”
Uh, aren’t all magnetic fields invisible? You can’t just look out your window and see one, can you?
The purpose of these experiments, we are told, is to learn more about the function of the brain and maybe how to fix it when it malfunctions. Well, okay, who can be opposed to that? But some bioethicists are worried about what might happen if they cram, say, 1,000 organoids into a rat’s head. Wouldn’t that make the rat… human-like? And thus entitled to “some kind of respect”? Hopefully more respect than Christians or conservatives get on campus.
We’ll know better if the rats start lying to each other, stealing stuff, getting lost in mazes that they used to run successfully, or cheating at cards.
Meanwhile… couldn’t we, like, respect them just as they are?